A comforting resource for military families coping with deployment and a worthwhile addition to any library.

With its companion, one of two delightful books that celebrate parents who are in the military.

Tolson showcases military mommies from different branches of the armed services (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy) and of every color. The book starts off with three different mommies saying goodbye to their families. The first-person rhyming text reiterates that “my mommy is a hero” for many reasons. She is “courageous, strong, inspired.” She is “leading others every day.” She “helps people in need.” The second line in each stanza often echoes emotions military children might feel when their mommies are deployed. The line “I know she’s always with me, even when she’s far away” is illustrated by a small vignette of a child writing a letter to Mommy. On another page, another mom is helping her daughter with her homework as the text reads “I love her and look up to her, she’s always guiding me.” Complementing the characters’ racial diversity are their wide-ranging jobs. A pilot sits in the cockpit while an aircraft marshall directs traffic on the runway. A medic treats a child in a rural village. Companion title My Daddy Is a Hero is similar in vein but with different scenarios. Nonetheless, the concepts are parallel, and both books highlight the leadership and bravery of both women and men in uniform.

A comforting resource for military families coping with deployment and a worthwhile addition to any library. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-721-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017


Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Close Quickview